Getting charged with a DUI is bad enough, but things can get much worse when you are involved in an accident that was directly affected by your impairment. If that accident results in the injury of another person, you have added another set of complications to a situation that was already precarious. This is because in most states, a driver who is charged with a DUI that also involved an injury accident is subject to more severe penalties than if that driver was only charged with a DUI.
What Are the Penalties For a DUI That Results In An Injury Accident?
If you are involved in an accident that was caused by a DUI, a DUI accident and injury lawyer can protedct you against the charges that the state of Pennsylvania can bring against you, including:
- DUI Felony – Most first-time DUI offenses are treated as a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania if your blood-alcohol content (BAC) was lower than .16 percent. But if your DUI arrest also involved the injury of another person – including a passenger in your car, a driver or passenger in another vehicle, or a pedestrian – you can be charged with a DUI felony. And that is true even if the injury the person suffered was not serious or life threatening. If you are convicted of a DUI felony, you can be fined a maximum of $5,000, your driver’s license will be suspended for 12 months, and you can spend six months in jail.
- Aggravated Assault By Vehicle – You can also be charged with aggravated assault by vehicle, a second-degree felony that refers to the reckless endangerment of another person’s life, whether that person is a passenger in your vehicle, a driver in another vehicle, a passenger in another vehicle, or a pedestrian. If convicted of this charge, you can be sentenced to prison for a maximum of 10 years with a fine of as much as $25,000.
- DUI Homicide – Things can go from bad to worse if the DUI accident you caused results in the death of someone at the scene. A DUI homicide charge is a second-degree felony with a minimum sentence of three years in prison with a fine of as much as $25,000.
Why You Need a DUI Accident and Injury Lawyer
Although the charges in DUI accidents that result in injuries or a death are very serious, you still have rights and protections under the law. But you can’t exercise those rights and explore your legal options if you don’t hire an experienced attorney who understands the ins and outs of DUI accidents.
Every DUI case is different, and a skilled lawyer can analyze the circumstances leading to your arrest to determine if the police followed all the proper procedures. Even if there are no issues with your arrest, an experienced lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor’s office to reduce your fines and penalties, and reach a plea agreement that could significantly reduce your prison sentence.
Please call the Law Offices of Steven F. O’Meara at 610-565-9200 to discuss the details of your case, and to learn your legal options.